Blithe Spirit (1945) - Rotten Tomatoes

Blithe Spirit (1945)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Blithe Spirit Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The Noel Coward/David Lean combination which turned out such dramas as Brief Encounter and This Happy Breed sets its sights on the viewer's funny bone with Blithe Spirit. Rex Harrison plays a novelist, newly married to straight-laced Constance Cummings. Via a seance, Harrison accidentally summons the spirit of his first wife, Kay Hammond. Believing that Hammond wants to ruin his marriage, Harrison enlists the services of local medium Madame Arcati (Margaret Rutherford) to exorcise Hammond's spirit. She fails, and in time, Harrison's second wife is killed; now he has two playful spirits on his hands! Technicolor is used throughout Blithe Spirit, with the ghosts' shimmering paleness providing contrast to the plain, everyday colors of Harrison's conservative country home. Blithe Spirit was later transformed into the Broadway musical High Spirits, with the original script bent out of shape to turn the character of Madame Arcati (played by Beatrice Lillie) into the leading role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 9, 1998


Rex Harrison
as Charles Condomine
Constance Cummings
as Ruth Condomine
Kay Hammond
as Elvira Condomine
Margaret Rutherford
as Madame Arcati
Hugh Wakefield
as George Bradman
Joyce Carey
as Violet Bradman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Blithe Spirit

Critic Reviews for Blithe Spirit

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (3)

Inasmuch as this is largely a photographed copy of the stage play [by Noel Coward], the camerawork is outstandingly good and helps to put across the credibility of the ghost story more effectively than the flesh and blood performance does.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Top Critic

Nifty special effects for the time, and plenty of Coward's inimitable wit and repartee.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Passably good, but it should have been better, what with Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, and Margaret Rutherford reading the Noel Coward lines.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The supernatural ménage of wartime England, staged by David Lean as an elegant fissure between the clipped precision of aristocratic manners and the great unknown beyond the drawing-room

Full Review… | October 10, 2015

... a lightweight comedy built on witty remarks and upper-class smugness (which Rex Harrison so perfectly embodies), but comedy is not Lean's strong suit.

Full Review… | May 4, 2012
Turner Classic Movies Online

Blithe Spirit is beloved by so many people that I feel like a curmudgeon handing it a mixed review. But when it comes to supernatural comedies starring Rex Harrison, I much prefer Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1947 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Full Review… | April 25, 2012
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Blithe Spirit

Fun filled and witty this is well acted by all and breezily directed but the whole thing is stolen by the wonderfully dotty Margaret Rutherford.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A comedic triumph for Lean. Once again he and Coward make a terrific pair. Cowards words sparkle on screen whilst Lean gives a wonderful visual appreciation, including some excellent (for the time) special effects. The film looks at death, mortality and romance in an incredibly unsentimental way. Always comedic and sometimes harsh and blunt in its delivery. The comedy is also very dark at times but is handled in an rather cheery manner. Like a British stiff upper lip version of Ghost or Death Becomes Her. All the characters have unlikable traits but they soon become endearing and we accept the characters for them. A pleasantly easy watch.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


Considering the strength of the source material, its surprising the film feels so stale. The cast is alright, but one gets the sense that Lean wasn't that invested in directing this movie.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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